I wish I didn't have to be sat here thinking of something to write about my Dad. These days I don't often get upset because, like my siblings, my Mum, his siblings,his Dad,in laws,nieces,nephews,grandchildren & friends ,we’ve learnt to live with it.
But, thinking about it now I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness about Dad’s illness. An illness that has taken his soul and left him in a body that doesn't know how to work anymore and leaves him isolated, lonely and no doubt frightened. We love him so much and yet we don't know how to help him.
My Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease just before he was 50 and then a few years later Lewy Bodies Dementia. He is now 58. What's his life like? Well, my Mum looks after him and has a daily struggle trying to give him his medication. He's suspicious and paranoid about taking it,but also finds it difficult to swallow.
Even with his tablets he can barely function these days. He can't really talk, so even when those who love him make the effort to visit him, they are unable to really connect with him. I'm sure they all feel that they wish they had had more time to chat about life, tell him what he meant to them and reminisce about better times.
Dad can’t do anything for himself anymore really,he can’t make a cup of tea or fasten his zip or put his slippers on,he can’t read a book,hasn’t been able to write for years,he can’t drive,mow the lawn,the poor man can barely give you a hug. He has the double effects of Parkinson’s and Dementia-tough!
It's unfair for anyone to become ill so my Dad is no different to any other person who has health problems, but it doesn't always make the sorrow go away. This is a man who worked hard all his life, who was honest and caring and ironically always had a soft spot for anyone who was vulnerable or disadvantaged. Together with my Mum he was a foster parent for over ten years, as well as having us four. As a local policeman he was involved in many projects in the community and even won an award for his efforts.
Dad planned for early retirement so he could spend some time with Mum, he wanted to travel, experience an easier life and run around after the growing number of grandchildren. It's so sad that he hasn't been able to do any of these things. Instead he has to suffer the indignity of carers helping to shower him and being fed by my Mum, his childhood sweetheart.
I love my Dad and I wish he knew how much, (and I was a difficult bloody teenager for him at times!)
If you want to take part in the walk join us on Sunday October 7th 10.30 am in Buxton,starting point Octagon,Pavilion Gardens.
Any donations are also much appreciated.